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With her debut novel “The Coldest Winter Ever,” first published in 1999, hip-hop artist and activist Sister Souljah spawned the new genre of urban fiction. Gritty, realistic and often raw, these works typically feature African-American main characters in a contemporary setting and deal with relationships, violence and street life. In this groundbreaking book, Santiaga, the daughter of one of Brooklyn’s most powerful drug kingpins, uses her own weapons – including sex and an aggressive attitude – to stay on top after her father’s empire is threatened by a drug war.
Our nominator describes this novel as “one of the first works of African-American fiction incorporating love, real struggles, crime and morality.” This reader believes it would make a great community read because “it sends subliminal messages of worth while lighting the flame to seek knowledge through one girl’s story. I loved and hated the characters, yet I can see how all races can grow to understand how to educate and relate to the young, urban African-Americans in our communities through her novels, thus seeing [these young people] as an asset and not a liability.”
Read about other books nominated for One Read 2014.
December 24 and 25 our buildings are closed and the bookmobiles are parked in the garage, but the digital branch is always open. Below are just a few of the ways you can use the library this holiday or any day.
- Download an eBook.
- Download an audiobook.
- Make a list of titles for your book club to tackle in the new year using the Novelist database and its handy-dandy book discussion guides.
- Get book recommendations for readers of any age from our blogs: DBRL Kids, DBRLTeen, DBRL Next or One Read.
- Download our mobile catalog app for iPhone and Android.
- Read a digital magazine on your computer or tablet using Zinio.
- If you get a little tired of hanging out with your living relatives, research your dead ones using Heritage Quest and other resources in our genealogy subject guide.
- Sign up for a free online cooking or photography course with Universal Class.
- Research products with Consumer Reports so you can spend those gift cards wisely.
- Search the catalog for books, movies music and more. Check out the staff picks while you’re there!
- Browse our subject guides on current topics like charities, volunteering and–particularly appropriate for recovering from holiday indulgences–fitness & nutrition.”
‘Tis the season for giving to others, but we suggest giving a little gift to yourself and registering to win a free audiobook from your library. Register today for a chance to receive a copy of one of the following books on CD, courtesy of the Daniel Boone Regional Library and Books on Tape.
“The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker
A gripping and unique coming-of-age at the end of the world story. 11-year-old Julia wakes up one morning to the news that the rotation of the earth has begun to slow, throwing the environment into disarray. Julia is also coping with the fissures in her family, the loss of friends, the hopeful anguish of love and other normal disasters of everyday life. The audiobook is read by Emily Janice Card.
“The Future” by Al Gore
This audiobook, read by the former Vice President himself, offers a frank assessment of six critical drivers of global change in the decades to come – economic globalization, worldwide digital communications, a growing balance of global power, unsustainable population growth, scientific revolution and disruption of ecosystems. A sobering but important and smart discussion of our actions and their implications for the future.
Photo credit: Gift by Flickr user Gift by asenat29
An area reader has nominated Daphne Miller’s “Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing” for One Read 2014. Our nominator writes that this book “addresses concerns about sustainability and living with nature as opposed to trying to fight nature.”
Miller, a physician, offers an approach to sustainable health and healing based on the intimate link between farming and medicine, interweaving the wisdom of farmers committed to sustainable agriculture with the expertise of scientists and researchers. With the increased concern about where our food comes from and how its production affects the health of people and the planet, this is a timely read.
Check out the other One Read nominations we’ve highlighted this month.
VOTE NOW through Feb. 23 for the Sweet 16!
March Madness is approaching, but why should basketball fans have all the fun? At your library or online at teens.dbrl.org, you can help us name a Mid-Missouri teen book champion. Through a series of votes, we are narrowing our list of the 32 most popular teen books to one grand champion. By supporting your favorite book, you’ll also be entered to win prizes like a gift card to Barnes & Noble, or a free autographed copy of “Legend” by Marie Lu!Who can participate?
March Madness is open to all teens ages 12-18 who live in either Boone or Callaway County, Missouri.How It Works:
- Round 1: VOTE NOW through February 23 for the Sweet 16.
- Round 2: Vote March 4-10 for the Elite 8.
- Round 3: Vote March 11-17 for the Final 4.
- Round 4: Vote March 18-24 for the final two contending titles.
- Round 5: Vote March 25-31 1 for the book tournament champion.
- April 2: The champion is announced!
- “Ship Breaker” by Paolo Bacigalupi
- “Close to Famous” by Joan Bauer
- “Bitter End” by Jennifer Brown
- “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore
- “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
- “Clockwork” Angel” by Cassandra Clare
- “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins
- “Reached” by Ally Condie
- “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner
- “Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper
- “Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25”
by Richard Paul Evans
- “Beautiful Creatures” by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
- “Gone” by Michael Grant
- “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
- “Girl, Stolen” by April Henry
- “The Eleventh Plague” by Jeff Hirsch
- “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
- “Legend” by Marie Lu
- “Rot & Ruin” by Jonathan Maberry
- “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer
- “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer
- “Ashfall” by Mike Mullin
- “Delirium” by Lauren Oliver
- “Inheritance” by Christopher Paolini
- “Confessions of a Murder Suspect” by James Patterson
- “Between the Lines” by Jodi Picoult &
Samantha van Leer
- “Virals” by Kathy Reichs
- “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”
by Ransom Riggs
- “Holes” by Louis Sachar
- “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater
- “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
- “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
Originally published at 2014 March Madness Booklist Announced.
I’m sure the majority of you, dear readers, are spending your quiet December evenings sipping hot cocoa by the fire, comforted by the knowledge that your holiday presents are wrapped, cards written and mailed, cookies baked, and lists not only made but also checked twice. For the few of you who may be a wee bit behind on the shopping, here are some suggestions for the bookish types for whom you still need gifts. All of these books were nominated by area readers for the 2014 One Read program, so they come with a local stamp of approval!
For historical fiction lovers, “The Maid’s Version” by Daniel Woodrell has particular appeal. This lyrical novel is set in Missouri, and at just 176 pages, it is a quick read – perfect for the busy holiday season.
For those who prefer their fiction quirky or offbeat, try “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple. The story follows precocious eighth-grader Bee and her quest to find her missing mother – the notorious, temperamental, talented, troubled and agoraphobic Bernadette.
For readers of nonfiction, and particularly for those readers who are also writers, I recommend Ann Patchett’s collection of essays, “This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.” Patchett reflects on advice received from writing teachers and mentors and reveals the people, places and ideals that have shaped her work.
None of these titles seem quite right? Check out other nominations for One Read 2014 for more ideas.
Finally, for the young readers on your list, check out this post from DBRL Kids about the best books of 2013. Happy shopping – and reading!
FAFSA Frenzy is a program sponsored by the Missouri Department of Higher Education to help students and families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the primary application used by all colleges and universities to determine your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. In other words, this form is mandatory for all those planning to attend college.
Fulton High School, Hickman High School, and the Columbia Career Center are each hosting this free event to help you successfully submit your FAFSA. Plan to attend one of these three sessions!
Where is the FAFSA Frenzy being held in Boone & Callaway Counties?Location: Address: Date & Time: Fulton High School 1 Hornet Dr., Fulton Wednesday, February 19 from 4-7:30 p.m. Hickman High School Media Center 1104 N. Providence Rd., Columbia Tuesday, February 4 from 6-8:00 p.m. Columbia Area Career Center 4203 S. Providence Rd. Sunday, February 9 from 2-4 p.m.
What to bring:
- Your parents’ and your 2013 W-2 forms
- Copies of your parents’ and your 2013 tax forms, if they are ready. If you or your parents have not yet filed your 2013 returns before you attend a FAFSA Frenzy event, be sure to bring any statements of interest earned in 2013, any 1099 forms, and any other forms required to complete your taxes.
- Student PIN and parent PIN. You may apply for your PINs at www.pin.ed.gov before attending the FAFSA Frenzy.
What do I bring if my parents and I haven’t filed our taxes yet?
- 2012 tax forms
- 2013 statements of interest earned
- Last year-end pay stub received in December 2013 by you and your parents, showing year-to-date earnings.
Originally published at 2014 FAFSA Frenzy.
Novelist Barbara Kingsolver is known for using literary fiction to deliver social messages, and her book “Flight Behavior,” nominated for One Read 2014, is no exception with its focus on global warming. Dellarobia Turnbow is a discontent Tennessee farm wife engaging in a flirtatious relationship with a younger man when she discovers what looks like an unusual fire in a forested valley behind her house. This curiosity turns out to be a mass of butterflies, their migration disrupted, which causes a stir in the scientific and local communities, garners a great deal of media attention and leads to Dellarobia confronting and questioning everything she thought she believed in.
An area reader thinks this book would make a great community read: “This book is more than one woman’s migration into self-sufficiency. It deals with ecological, environmental, religious and educational issues in a wryly humorous way.”
Want more book recommendations? See what your friends and neighbors are recommending for One Read.
As an artist as well as a recreation-enthusiast, I end up in the 700s (Arts & Recreation) almost every time I browse the library’s collection, regardless of what I originally set out to find. There are a wide variety of books in this section, everything from books on art history to Calvin and Hobbes to NASCAR. Here are a few interesting books I found tucked away on the bottom shelf.
- H.O.U.S.E. by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski. H.O.U.S.E stands for Homes that are Outrageous, Unbelievable, Spectacular and Extraordinary – all of which the architecture in this illustrated book definitely is. HOUSE is so colorful and playful and bursting with imagination I thought it was a misshelved children’s book at first – but it’s for adults! The architecture explored in this book is just as out-of-the-box as the illustrations. Discover everything from houses shaped like UFOs, to a giant tree house to an entire home that hangs outside of an apartment window. This book is a fun introduction to innovative architecture.
- “Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s” by Hunter Drohojowska-Philip. Set in 1960s Los Angeles, this book captures the rebellious spirit of the time and place and chronicles the West Coast explosion of contemporary art. In 1960 LA had few art galleries, and no modern art museums, which opened the door for artists with more avant-garde ideas, including: David Hockey, Ed Ruscha, Judy Chicago and many others. Andy Warhol, though today he is known for the Factory and the artwork he created in New York City, got his first big break in L.A. By the end of the decade the city had blossomed into a thriving art hub in the US.
- “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. For those who haven’t heard of this book with a cult-like following: no, this book is not about Bruce Springsteen. It actually has a lot more to do with those toe shoes, which kind of look like gloves for your feet, that you have probably seen people jaunting around in (also called minimalist running shoes). In “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen,” McDougall journeys to Copper Canyon, Mexico to discover the secrets of Tarahumara Indians – a group whose members have spent centuries mastering techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest. Yes, you read that correctly - hundreds! That’s like running several marathons in a row! And they do it without injury (enter toe shoes), which has a lot to do with the minimalist sandals they wear while running. Regardless of your stance on running footwear, this book is definitely worth picking up!
The post It Came From the Bottom Shelf! Three Books not to Overlook in the 700s appeared first on DBRL Next.
The registration deadlines are fast approaching for those planning to take the next round of ACT and SAT exams.
- Registration for the February 8 ACT exam is due Friday, January 10. Sign-up online.
- Registration for the January 25 SAT exam is due Friday, December 27. Sign-up online.
If you would like to know more about testing locations, exam costs and fee waivers, please visit our online guide to SAT/ACT preparation. The library also has a wide selection of printed ACT and SAT test guides for you to borrow.
Our most popular resource for test-takers, though, is LearningExpress Library. Through this website, you may take free online practice tests for the ACT or SAT exam. To access LearningExpress Library, you will need to login using your DBRL library card number. Your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY). If you have questions or encounter difficulties logging in, please call (800) 324-4806.
Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog updates for regular reminders of upcoming test registration deadlines!
Originally published at Registration Dates for Upcoming ACT and SAT Exams.
In 2003, the community read Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” inspiring important discussions about race relations and social justice. This year, an area reader suggests another classic work be considered for One Read: “1984” by George Orwell.
In this dystopian novel, protagonist Winston Smith begins to question the totalitarian government, which watches and controls the actions of its citizens. Our nominator writes, “With revelations that government is tracking conversations, are we living in the Big Brother society predicted to happen 30 years ago? Also, this is the 65th anniversary of book’s publication.” A timely suggestion, indeed.
See other One Read 2014 nominations we’ve highlighted.
December, the month famously associated with people not wanting stuff, has wrapped its icy claws around our throats and screamed, “You sure you don’t want a scarf now, good sir?! Doesn’t the chill in the air render your topcoat an insufficient barricade?!” We answer with a choked “nay,” for despite the frigid talons even now questing for exposed, wind-burnable flesh, this is the month of not wanting stuff, of casting off the shackles imposed by capitalism, that foul creature whose pungent exhalations and blank eyes, indifferent if not blind to suffering, haunt our dreams before jostling us awake so that we may desperately exchange legal tender for goods and services and vice versa. This is the month when upon waking from nightmares of far away children cobbling together smart phones and sneakers between furtive sips of the murky contents of their hamster-cage-water-bottle-thingies (careful not to be unproductive but for a moment lest the Dobermans’ snarls intensify, tears stifled because they tend to rile up the Rottweilers), we hop from our beds and roam the bitterly cold streets while not wanting stuff and distributing candy canes to the less fortunate before going inside somewhere and decking the halls with much needed fire-retardant materials. December is truly the jolliest of months.
This month’s recommendation pairs perfectly with this annual festival of generosity-and-contentment-with-current-allotment-of-goods-owned-or-leased. “Want Not” by Jonathan Miles is a beautifully written encapsulation of all that we cherish about this month: the foraging through dumpsters for food in a tiny hopeless effort to stem the awe-inspiring amount of waste we generate on a daily basis, the lengthy meetings wherein we try to agree on the best way to warn future civilizations on the dangers of the huge radioactive dump we’ve left behind for them, the struggle to hide a teen pregnancy from both our parents and ourselves, the witnessing of a fiery crash and taking it as a sign from God that we should abscond to the wilderness for a simple biblical life in which to raise our still-gestating daughter, the constant reminders to our Alzheimer’s stricken father that his wife is dead, and the coiled majesty of what we’ve just left in the toilet, flushed only after a picture is taken to document its grandeur and then be lorded over our IBS afflicted step-daughter. Short of an appearance by Santa in a department store specializing in mangers and colorful lights, I’m not sure how this novel could be more Christmassy.
Miles’ other novel, “Dear American Airlines,” is a book in the form of a letter demanding a refund for a plane ticket, though given that I’m not sure how one could possibly tie frustrations with travel to the holidays, I will not mention it further save to say it is enthusiastically recommended.
There, now why not take a break from hungrily eyeing that unmanned donations bucket outside your grocery store to read some holly jolly fiction from Jonathan Miles? Unless, of course, you’d rather give me stuff. That would be great.
I love steampunk. Love it. I adore corsets and top hats and everything covered in gears. What is this “steampunk” I speak of? So glad you asked!
Most things steampunk are heavily influenced by the Victorian Age, between 1837 and 1901. This classical age is mixed up with fantasy, typically filled with mechs, automatons, mad scientists and dirigibles. While the creations are complex, one of the main themes of the genre is the presence of advanced technology based on outdated sources of power, thus all the steam and gears.
Steampunk had its start in literature, but has influenced everything from music to movies to art. One of my favorite aspects is the aesthetic and I enjoy finding new and creative things to craft in the style of steampunk. A great thing about steampunk, is that a lot of it is found objects. Old buttons, busted watches and cast-off keys are a great beginning to a project. It’s easy to pull together a one-of-a-kind gift for someone out of your own junk drawer!
We have some great books to help you get started!
- Steampunk Accessories by Nicola Tedman
- Steampunk-style Jewelry by Jean Campbell
- Steampunk Softies by Sarah Skeate
Originally published at Homemade Holiday Gifts Get Steamy!.
Like our last highlighted One Read recommendation, David Finkel’s “Thank You For Your Service,” “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain deals with soldiers returning from war. The books’ publisher describes this satirical novel as an exploration of “the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad. The story follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive ‘Victory Tour’ at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters and cheerleaders.”
Our nominator calls this book, “comic, moving and very relevant right now.”
See what other titles area readers think our community would benefit from reading together and check out the nominated titles we’ve highlighted so far.
The post Suggested One Read: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk appeared first on One READ.
It’s that time of the year when friends and family host a delicious smorgasbord of potlucks and holiday gatherings, and opportunities for sharing your culinary creations are everywhere. But do you have a nephew who’s vegan? A coworker with celiac disease? A friend on the Paleo diet? Different dietary restrictions can be challenging to accommodate, but it’s also a great opportunity to use your creativity and figure out how to prepare a dish that eliminates certain ingredients. Here are a few cookbooks to help with cooking meals that fit within a few different diets.
For vegans, try the “Veganomicon.” This book is written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, the team that forms the Post Punk Kitchen. Some omnivores cringe when they hear the term “vegan,” but this book could seriously change your mind. None of these recipes call for fake meat or fake cheese, so the food really shows off what you can do with pure vegetables (not to mention being more cost-effective). All of their recipes that I’ve tried have been delicious, even for a meat-eater like myself! My favorites: the acorn squash, pear and adzuki soup; corn and edamame sesame salad; and creamy kalamata spread. These two have also penned several vegan dessert cookbooks, including “Vegan Pie in the Sky” and “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.”
Though everyone seems to have some sort of strong opinion one way or another about gluten, gluten-free diets are becoming increasing popular. The “Gluten-free Almond Flour Cookbook” presents different gluten-free recipes for desserts and baked goods, as well as some entrees, breakfasts and savory dishes. One nice thing about this cookbook is that it tells you the level of sweetness of the sugary items, so you can adjust accordingly. In “Nosh on This,” authors Lisa Stander-Horel and Tim Horel provide gluten-free interpretations of the Jewish-American pastries and savory dishes they grew up on. The cherry chocolate mandelbrot and the savory hand pies definitely caught my eye!
There is a lot of overlap in cookbooks that adhere to both gluten-free and Paleo diets, but the library also has many book specifically dedicated to Paleo dishes. “Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining” is a great resource if you you’re hosting guests on the Paleo diet. This book has everything from fake take-out dinners to salads to Paleo chocolate martinis. (Take that, cavemen!) The recipes are organized by season and theme, which makes it easy to pick out dishes for specific holiday parties. Recipes that stood out to me: crostini with goat cheese and fig compote; wild mushroom soup; and apple veal stuffing.
For those with some serious food allergies try “The Complete Allergy-free Comfort Food Cookbook.” Every single recipe in this book is free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and eggs. There are plenty of small plates (including pot stickers and dolmades), entrees (shepherd’s pie, chicken curry) and side dishes (cornbread stuffing, rosemary smashed potatoes), among other items. This book even offers a recipe for allergy-free Twinkies! Author Elizabeth Gordon also has a book dedicated to allergy-free desserts, appropriately titled “Allergy-free Desserts.”
Finally, “Food52“ is great for those who follow a local and seasonal food diet. Winter can be a challenging time start cooking seasonally, but with the help of a winter farmers’ market and a good cookbook you can tackle this one! DBRL actually has a plenty of resources on this subject. “Food52″ is based on a website of the same title, where readers are encouraged to share their seasonal creations, many of which are included in this book. Beautiful photos illustrate these simple, farm-fresh recipes and completely entice the reader. A few that make my mouth water: sweet potato and pancetta gratin; burnt caramel pudding; and fig and blue cheese savories.
Happy holidays, and happy cooking!
“I think the story of returning veterans and their readjustment would be excellent for the community,” writes the nominator of “Thank You for Your Service” by David Finkel. Finkel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter with the Washington Post, provides a moving and sobering portrait of soldiers returning from Iraq. Dealing with PTSD, suicide, crumbling family relationships, and a myriad of physical and mental struggles, these veterans’ stories reveal that the tragic cost of war is not simply paid in lives lost on the battlefield.
Want more reading recommendations? See other books area readers have nominated for our community-wide reading program.
“I have come to the conclusion that life in the Antarctic Regions can be very pleasant” – Robert Falcon Scott.
December 14th marks the 102nd anniversary of one of the greatest milestones in all of polar exploration; on that day in 1911, Roald Amundsen and his fast and small team of Norwegian adventurers and sled-dogs reached the geographic South Pole. Beating Brit Robert Scott and his men (who, doomed from the beginning, used archaic methods such as man-hauling and ponies to transport supplies over the ice), Amundsen won the pole for Norway because of his speed, experience on cross-country skis and command of sled dogs.
Scott, however, left us with a formidable legacy—picture his men bitterly weeping when coming across the Norwegian flag at 90 degrees South. And to his credit, Scott did not give up on his horrific journey to the South Pole. New photographs from Scott’s expedition and journey have only recently emerged, and you can see many of these spectacular images in the book “The Lost photographs of Captain Scott: unseen photographs from the Legendary Antarctic Expedition” by D.M. Wilson.
On the ice simultaneously with Scott and Amundsen was Douglas Mawson’s obscure Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) of 1911-1914. David Robert’s “Alone on the Ice” recounts this expedition. AAE’s base was in a place called Cape Denison, which had the unenviable distinction of being at one of the windiest points on earth. Gusts off the Antarctic ice sheet created unreal conditions at Cape Denison. The landscape was one of unceasing white-outs, and daily wind speeds sometimes reached 120 miles per hour. The Australasian Antarctic expedition was unusual, also, for the following fact: “Mawson was completely uninterested in reaching the South Pole. What mattered to the man instead—and what drove the vast ambitions of the AAE—was the urge to explore land that had never before been seen by human eyes, and to bring back from the Southern continent the best science that men in the field might be capable of.” 12 months after landing, Mawson barely survived a three man reconnaissance mission onto King George V Land. That he lived to tell his story is a paean to the human will to survive.
If you would like to read about some of the modern-day explorers, adventures and scientists found in the Southern continent, please see: “Antarctica: an Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent,” by Gabrielle Walker. Contemporary Antarctic bases are staffed by a wacky crew of misfits, men and women alike, who, during the Antarctic winter, party like it’s, well, like it’s 2014. Amidst intense deprivation, incredible hard work and even winter psychosis, scientists and laborers on the Southern continent still soldier on and seem to maintain a healthy sense of humor. And as Walker points out, it is all for a very noble cause: “Antarctica turns out to be a fantastic place to do science; over the years it has yielded extraordinary insights into our world.”
Indeed, 2011-2013 was the 100th anniversary of the first wave of scientific exploration of Antarctica from a large assortment of teams from across the globe. Science (or at least nationalistic ambitions in the name of science) were the main reasons these teams were there. Chris Turney, in his book “1912, The Year the World Discovered Antarctica,“ discusses the five different expeditions that came across the continent during that eventful year: Scott’s British expedition, Amundsen from Norway, Nobu Shirase and his Japanese contingent, a German expedition, and finally Mawson’s attempt. “By 1912 five national teams, representing the old and new worlds, were diligently venturing beyond the edge of the known world . . . Their discoveries not only enthralled the world: they changed our understanding of the planet.”
Back to Amundsen. Stephen R. Bowen’s “The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen,” sketches his tumultuous but successful early career as an explorer, which was book-ended by a tragic end; death on a perilous and ill-advised aircraft rescue mission to the Arctic in 1928. Amundsen never truly enjoyed the spoils of victory: “There was actually a time when British schoolchildren were taught that Scott the Briton was the first person to reach the South Pole, and that Amundsen had cheated in ‘the great race.’ Amundsen’s legacy certainly raised questions about our knowledge of the past.”
Please check out these books (and many more!) if you would like to learn more about Antarctica and the people who have braved this magnificent and unforgiving continent.
This year I was inspired by the many uses of Mod Podge to make holiday ornaments using the decorative imagines from old books and magazines. Once finished, the proceeds from these ornaments will go to local charities.
- Foam forms (I bought a bag of 6 foam balls at a local craft store.)
- Wire for hangers (Floral wire works great!)
- Discarded books or magazines that you can cut up
- School glue or other white glue
- 1 flat edged paintbrush
- Mod Podge
- Glitter glue
- Stamps and stamp pad, if desired
Cut the wire and twist it into a small loop. Push the ends of the wire into the foam ball so that only the loop shows. Dribble in some white glue to make sure the wire doesn’t come out.
Cut the desired book or magazine pages into thin strips.
Stamp images. I stamped birds and snowflakes on the recycled paper before adhering the strips to the foam ball. Make sure the image you stamp is completely dry or it will run.
Spread the Mod Podge on a foam ball and lay a paper strip down. Then brush more Mod Podge over the top of the strip. Repeat this until the ball is covered with paper strips and coated with Mod Podge. I actually did half the ball and then let it dry for about an hour and then did the other half.
When your globe is dry to the touch, decorate with the glitter glue and allow to cure overnight.
Cut ribbon and run it through the wire loop. Knot the ends as desired.
These ornaments were a lot of fun to make and they have inspired me to explore other crafts that use recycled books and Mod Podge. If you are interested learning more about decoupage crafts, check out “Mod Podge Rocks” by Amy Anderson. Happy crafting!
Originally published at Homemade Holiday Gifts: Literary Ornaments.
Works of historical fiction make great book club picks. Along with any themes the plot might offer up for discussion, the time period and historical context provide ample topics for examination. Our next One Read nomination is such a novel: “Telex From Cuba” by Rachel Kushner.
Our nominator writes, “Kushner’s first book is incredibly well-researched and brings to life mid-century Cuba in rich illuminating detail. Her depiction of the revolution and all of the people caught in its cross-hairs would inspire meaty discussions about so many -isms: imperialism, capitalism, racism, idealism. Yet this fact-packed novel is so compellingly told through the points of view of her indelible characters that you forget you’re getting a vivid history lesson until after you close the book. Moving without being sentimental and full of gorgeous prose and hard questions, this book would be an excellent One Read choice.”
“The two women were alone in the London flat.” The opening sentence of Doris Lessing’s “The Golden Notebook” let readers know this novel would be something different from much of the literature that preceded its 1962 publication. Here is a story showing women as they see themselves and each other, rather than filtered through the lens of male perspective.
When the British author passed away last month, her best-known book gained renewed attention. “The Golden Notebook” broke new ground with the way it focused on its female protagonists, and also in its structure. Before Margaret Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin” and David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas,” Lessing showed how a story-within-a-story motif could work in contemporary literature.
Her book contains a story, “Free Women,” that follows the lives of author Anna Wulf and her best friend, Molly Jacobs, both single mothers approaching mid-life. Interweaved with this narrative are sections from Anna’s various notebooks, each reflecting a different area of her life. The yellow one contains her novel-in-progress, or perhaps novel-in-stasis would be more accurate, as Anna suffers from writer’s block. The black notebook chronicles her thoughts about the time she spent living in Southern Rhodesia in her early twenties, prior to World War II. In the appropriately-colored red notebook she reflects on her involvement with the Communist Party. And she uses the blue one for her personal diary, a recording of day-to-day events. Finally, there’s the golden notebook, in which she tries to piece together her sanity by piecing together the contents of all of the other notebooks into an integrated whole.
“The Golden Notebook” isn’t action-packed. It’s short on car chases and long on conversations between the characters, often frank discussions about the intimate details of their lives. If this sounds uninteresting, I suggest watching the movie “My Dinner With Andre” to see how riveting a couple of hours of conversation can be. Then pick up Lessing’s book and get to know Anna Wulf. Her central struggle is one most of us can relate to, even if we aren’t authors or single parents or members of the Communist Party in the 1950s. The real struggle is how to live authentically, how to bridge the divide between ideals and actions while meeting the practical demands of everyday life.